Yardy, Brown prompt Sussex recovery
Sussex 335 for 5 v Yorkshire
A magnificent opening spell by Ryan Sidebottom got relegation-threatened Yorkshire off to a great start against Sussex before the visitors hit back on day one of their Championship match at Scarborough.
Left-arm swing bowler Sidebottom picked up three wickets for seven runs in his first spell as Sussex slumped to 27 for 3, but skipper Michael Yardy and Ben Brown staged a recovery by both hitting centuries in a record 198 stand for the fifth wicket. Brown was eventually dismissed for 108 but Yardy had advanced to 126 by the close, when Sussex were healthily placed on 335 for 5.
Yorkshire were captained by South African Jacques Rudolph in the absence of Andrew Gale, who is out for the remainder of the season with a broken forearm, and also missing from their line-up was Ajmal Shahzad due to an ankle injury. Sussex won the toss and took first use of a good batting pitch but there was sufficient early movement for Sidebottom to create plenty of problems steaming in from the pavilion end.
He struck twice in as many balls when the score was on 15, Chris Nash falling lbw and Luke Wells being neatly taken by Anthony McGrath at second slip. Murray Goodwin denied Sidebottom the hat-trick with a defensive push but soon afterwards he was unable to avoid contact with one which moved away from him and McGrath held on to another well-judged catch.
Moin Ashraf shared the new ball with Sidebottom and he sent down some useful deliveries as well as some looser ones before being replaced by Steven Patterson who had Yardy, on 7, edging close to Joe Sayers at fourth slip. Ed Joyce had looked confident from the start and he and Yardy middled the ball well to improve Sussex's situation but just before lunch the opener was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow off Richard Pyrah for 45 out of 90 for 4.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Brown joined Yardy and the pair stamped their authority on the game by dominating proceedings in the afternoon session as the pitch flattened out. The introduction of legspinner Adil Rashid in no way hindered Sussex's progress and, after Yardy had completed his half-century off 146 balls with four boundaries, Brown reached the landmark off only 71 deliveries with seven fours.
Yorkshire looked to McGrath in an attempt to force a breakthrough but a leg-side wide went to the boundary, the five runs credited making it a century stand in 33 overs. Yardy sailed past his previous best score this season of 63, compiled in his last innings against Worcestershire at Horsham, and at tea he stood on 79 with Brown on 52.
It was Brown, however, who seized the initiative after the interval and he was the first to three figures, slicing Rashid for his 17th boundary off the 124th ball he had received. Brown's century was the fourth first-class hundred of his career and Yardy moved to his 16th century by nudging a single in Sidebottom's first over with the new ball which came at 265 for four in 80 overs.
Yardy had used up 242 balls and struck eight fours but in the same over he lost Brown, who drove loosely and was caught behind by Bairstow to end a 198 stand in 55 overs - a record for Sussex's fifth wicket against Yorkshire and the best by any side for that wicket at North Marine Road.
Yorkshire were unable to capitalise on Brown's departure because Kirk Wernars (16 not out) held firm for the day's final 15 overs, off which a further 47 runs were added.